What Will Boston Be Like?

I have not been out of Morocco for almost two years now.  I think it is safe to assume that I will have some surprises come August, when I will arrive in Boston for the first time, alone, and after a 28 hour trip.  Last time I was in the US, I almost cried when I realized how much less flavorful the carrots, eggs, and olive oil are in America.  I was shocked to see men walking around shirtless or with saggy pants, and I was very confused about the “no gun” signs that popped up around Chicago after concealed weapons had been made legal.  It was not easy to readjust, even after only one year away.

I am trying to predict what will shock me and my husband in Boston, both to prepare myself and because I’m sure it will be funny to look back later and see how far off I was.  Here is what I expect to experience when I move to Boston:

  • I will be invisible.  I get a lot of stares and comments as I walk down the street in Casablanca, but I expect to blend in when I am in Boston.  The challenge will be to stand out, not to fit in.
  • It will be surprising how much people drink.  I’ve gotten used to alcohol being mostly out of the picture.
  • The season changes will be amazing.  There was a drought this year in Morocco, so it barely got any colder.  I cannot wait to see the leaves change color and to play in the first snow!
  • My husband will learn new holiday traditions.  I discovered last Christmas that he is not familiar with Christmas music, other than church songs.  He has also never done an Easter egg hunt.  He has a lot to learn.
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Christmas in Morocco

  • Not everyone will know where Morocco is.  If they do, they will ask me if I was afraid of terrorists, if I had to cover my hair, or if I was able to access the internet.  And absolutely no one will understand how I met my husband in Morocco, who is not even Moroccan. (Actually, during our visa application process, the National Visa Center in the US asked my husband to send police records available only to Moroccan citizens.  We suspect that the application was read by a machine, because not many humans could confuse “Central African Republic” with “Morocco.”)
  • It is going to be nothing like what we expect.  I would not be so surprised if what shocks me turns out to be completely different from what I’ve written here!

Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock?  What surprised you about your country?

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2 thoughts on “What Will Boston Be Like?

  1. I bet it’ll be sometimes be weird for you to feel like a new immigrant in your own country. But I know you and Loic will be able to have a positive attitude and find plenty of things to love and appreciate about Boston, to balance out the things about Morocco that you’ll miss. In London, my scholarship administrator’s mantra was “it’s not better or worse, it’s just different.” That can be repeated over and over again, sometimes as a joke when something new is clearly awful.

  2. I’m not back home yet, so reverse culture thing isn’t a thing yet. Last time I lived abroad for an extended period of time I think I was too young and filled with awe to really process the shock/differences/lessons fully. But I will say this, living in the Philippines for the year is teaching me more about my own culture then pretty much anything else. I am learning to see how loud and how much space I actually take up, by comparison. I am getting a serious lesson in humility and resolves well as a much better sense of a group’s needs rather than solely connecting to my own needs. And, as you highlighted, I am gaining an appreciation for the changing seasons and colourful leaves. Love reading your thoughts, keep ‘me comming!

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